Tory election guru, Lynton Crosby, was reportedly playing Land of Hope And Glory whilst waving a Union Flag at campaign HQ as it looked increasingly likely David Cameron had won the 2015 general election. The night started with an exit poll suggesting the party would be the biggest in the House of Commons, but results from the marginals showed they may even get an overall majority.
Labour and the Tories had gone into the election neck-and-neck but the night turned out to be a huge disappointment for Ed Miliband. His party was wiped out in Scotland by the SNP, and swings in the marginals he had hoped to take went against him in seat after seat.
Speaking at his own count in Doncaster, the Labour leader said: “Now the results are still coming in but this has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour party. We haven’t made the gains we wanted in England and Wales, and in Scotland we’ve seen a surge of nationalism overwhelm our party.
“Now I want to say to all the dedicated and decent colleges in Scotland who have lost their seats that I am deeply sorry for what has happened. And I also want to say the next government has a huge responsibility. It has a huge responsibility in facing the very difficult task of keeping out country together.
“Whatever party we come from, if we believe in the United Kingdom we should stand up for people in every part of our United Kingdom. Because, you know, I believe what unites us is much, much more than what divides us.
“I am now going to go to London to await the full results to come through, but I just want to reiterate my huge thanks to the people of Doncaster North.”
Miliband lost his leader in Scotland, Jim Murphy, to the Scottish Nationalists, along with the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander. Mr Murphy said: “The party that has traditionally been the timeless champion of the underdog, now find itself in the position of being the underdog.
“But the Scottish Labour party has been around for over a century, and 100 years from tonight we will still be around. Scotland needs a strong Labour party and our fight back starts tomorrow morning.”
By 5:30am the SNP had won 53 of the 59 seats in Scotland. The former First Minister Alex Salmond was elected in the seat of Gordon and told those assembled at the count that the result: “Is an extraordinary statement of intent from people of Scotland: The Scottish Lion has roared this morning across the country.”
It was a bad night for UKIP as Tim Aker MEP failed to take Thurrock from the Conservatives, Grimsby from Labour and Nigel Farage himself looked unlikely to take South Thanet. The Conservatives predicted they would hold the seat, with the result expected at 9am.
The Liberal Democrats faced wipeout with the exit polls saying the party would fall from 57 seats in 2010 to just 10 in 2015. This prediction started to look optimistic as the night went on, Nick Clegg himself only just survived a Labour challenge thanks to tactical voting by the Tories in Sheffield Hallam.
The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, lost his seat of Twickenham to the Conservatives. Mr Clegg said: “Turning to the national picture it is now painfully clear that this has been a cruel and punishing night for the Liberal Democrats. The election has profound implications for the country.
“It also obviously has profound implications for the liberal democrats and I will be seeking to make further remarks about the implications of this election, both for country, and for the party… later this morning when I return to Westminster.”
David Cameron has not yet been elected in Witney, and will return to London shortly after. He did not have it all his own way, losing the Employment Minister, Esther McVey. She had faced hundreds of Trade Union campaigners who blame her for the so-called Bedroom Tax.